Aireon Deployment Continues with 7th SpaceX Launch

Deployment of an Iridium Next satellite, holding Aireon ADS-B payloads, off of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Photo: SpaceX

Deployment of an Iridium Next satellite off of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Photo: SpaceX

Aireon successfully completed launch and deployment of its space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) payloads, hosted by the Iridium satellite constellation. Yesterday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and placed 10 new Iridium Next satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), bringing the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 65. This leaves a single launch of 10 more Iridium Next satellites and their Aireon payloads before the launch campaign concludes later this year.

The Aireon system is scheduled to go live in 2018 with operational deployment beginning shortly afterwards. Operational trials in oceanic airspace over the North Atlantic will begin in early 2019. Upon completion of the new network, the Aireon system will enable new capabilities for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), air traffic controllers, airline operators, and industry stakeholders. Oceanic and remote airspace will, for the first time, have real-time air traffic surveillance, allowing further enhanced safety, as well as on-the-fly route adjustments, more direct flight paths, and increased predictability.

“The system has been functioning beyond expectation, resulting in even greater coverage redundancy than initially planned,” Aireon Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Don Thoma said. “We’re seeing double coverage, and in many cases triple redundancy from our payloads before the constellation is even completed.  With this seventh successful launch completed, we’re now preparing to begin a new era for the aviation industry.”

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